Full grocery bags on a pallet

PHOTO ESSAY: Rainier Valley Food Bank Reopens in a Bigger Building on Rainier Avenue South

by Ronnie Estoque

On Feb. 23, the Rainier Valley Food Bank (RVFB) held its first open house at its new South Seattle location on 9021 Rainier Avenue South. Motivated by a growing need to increase its capacity and programming capabilities, RVFB purchased the property from Bonney Watson last year. The site is over 8,000 square feet, significantly larger than their previous site, which was about 1,200 square feet. RVFB has served the South End community since 1991 and was originally founded as Northwest Community Services before changing its name in 2008. RVFB’s previous location, which it had occupied for over 25 years, was located at 4205 Rainier Ave. S. The food bank was able to acquire and renovate their new building through corporate, State, City, and private donors, which included United Way of King County and the City’s Human Services Department. 

Currently, RVFB is providing grocery bags via delivery to community members in need of food assistance during the pandemic. It is looking toward planning a summer kick-off event, providing internships to youth, and setting up shower trailers for public use.

The new Rainier Valley Food Bank building
The new Rainier Valley Food Bank (RVFB) building was purchased from Bonney Watson, Seattle’s longest continually operating funeral home. Bonney Watson still has two other locations in SeaTac and Federal Way. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Storage boxes in a storage area, in front of a poster of volunteers
A storage area includes a poster of local volunteers and community members that were active at RVFB’s old site. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Canned goods on a shelf
Canned goods sit on a shelf inside the warehouse space of the building. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
The RVFB building full of boxes
The building, originally Bonney Watson’s Southwest Mortuary, has been repurposed into a warehouse for RVFB. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
A white board covered in lists
A white board lists some food items that will be added to food bag deliveries. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
Donut holes as part of a food spread for open house visitors
Food from local restaurants, like King Donuts, was available at RVFB’s open house on Feb. 23, 2022. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
James Johnson-Gruspe wearing a mask and looking at the camera
James Johnson-Gruspe, food bank coordinator at RVFB, shares his experience of moving into a new building. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)

Ronnie Estoque is a South Seattle-based freelance photographer and videographer. You can keep up with his work by checking out his website.

📸 Featured Image: Grocery bags at Rainier Valley Food Bank (RVFB) await delivery to local community members. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)

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